16th November 2012
The North London rivals go into the derby match low on confidence, but that certainly doesn’t mean we won’t see a cracking game at the Emirates. Both Arsenal and Tottenham will give their best to return to winning ways and at the same time pour more misery on their bitter rivals.
Robin van Persie and Alex Song were always going to be sorely missed this season, but new signings Giroud and Podolski, together with Gervinho and Walcott were expected to help compensate for the huge gap left by the Dutchman’s departure. However, while the rest of the team played pretty well, the attackers largely struggled to hit the ground running during the early exchanges, with the four players scoring just 11 goals in as many games between them. That did not prevent the Gunners from picking up quite a few points against the bottom table sides, but defeats to Manchester United and Chelsea, as well as Champions League loss to Schalke, proved Arsene Wenger’s side lack that extra edge to match the best sides in England and Europe. While Arsenal are clearly struggling for form at the moment, they are at least as entertaining as ever, with no less than 23 goals scored in their last 4 games. Arsene Wenger is hoping the return of Wojciech Szczesny will help patch up the leaky back line, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey are also back.
Given the major changes the squad had undergone in the summer, Tottenham were expected to experience some problems in the early exchanges, and they indeed failed to win any of their first three league games. Spurs quickly returned to the right track, winning four straight Premier League fixtures, even beating Manchester United at Old Trafford in the process. Injury to star midfielder Moussa Dembele seems to have stopped the team in their tracks, with Tottenham losing three of next four games in the Premier League, while also crashing out of the Capitol One Cup at the hands of Norwich. Having squandered a one-goal lead to lose at Etihad last weekend, Andre Villas-Boas’ side desperately need a huge confidence boost in order to turn their season around and what better way to return to confidence than beating your arch rivals in front of their own fans. Tottenham’s chances of getting something out of this game will increase considerably if Jermain Defoe, Aaron Lennon and Kyle Walker pass fitness tests.
Picking a winner in a match between two out-of-form sides that are also bitter rivals could prove to be a difficult task, but goals should be a safe bet here. Past few derbies have been very entertaining affairs and with both sides scoring goals for fun this season, betting on over 2.5 goals looks the right thing to do.
Verdict: Over 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 4/7
Bookmaker: William Hill